In the latest Feature Discovery Series, the Asobo Studio discussed how the development team modelled the Guimbal Cabri G2 helicopter coming to the 40th Anniversary Edition of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
The video covers topics such as art, audio, the cockpit and flight model and new technologies they developed for helicopters. To recreate the 3D model as accurately as possible, the team used scans and photographs of the interior and exterior of a real helicopter to make the textures and mesh as realistic as possible.
The sounds were captured by placing microphones around the helicopter to record the sound from every angle as well as inside the cockpit. Details such as the control movements, the rotor and engine sounds were recorded, along with start-up/shutdown sounds and vibrations in the cockpit. Ground attenuation and Doppler effect were captured to recreate the audio effects on the ground as a helicopter flies by. The SDK has also been updated so third-party developers can build helicopter sound sets.
For the flight model, the team partnered with Guimbal, the developer of the Cabri, to simulate the performance and handling qualities of helicopters based on maintenance and flight manuals. Moreover, Cabri flight instructors tested the simulation to achieve realistic flight dynamics. To help newcomers to rotor wing flying, two assists were added in Microsoft Flight Simulator: cyclic assistance to increase the stability of the stick and assisted tail rotor to compensate for control inputs (similar to an auto rudder). Xbox controller presets will also be included in the final release.
In terms of new technologies, Asobo developed a new rotor blade simulation to simulate hundreds of surfaces placed over the rotor blades. A new CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) airflow simulation was also implemented, which models how the air flows through the rotor and is affected by the ground. A new clutch and transmission system were also developed, along with new controls to simulate ground effect and translational lift accurately. The CFD simulation also features vortex ring effect, blade flapping, dissymmetry of lift and gyroscopic precession to achieve realistic flight dynamics. Finally, autorotations are also simulated for practising engine failures.
The 40th Anniversary Edition is due to release on November 11 this year and will be free for all owners of Microsoft Flight Simulator.